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Mayor Ganim appoints Roderick Porter as next Bridgeport police chief

Jeniece Roman
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim announced retired Capt. Roderick Porter as the next police chief. The announcement was made at the Margaret Morton Government Center

Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim has named retired Captain Roderick Porter as the next Chief of Police.

Porter was appointed after an extensive search and selection process led by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He will take over the role from acting Chief Rebeca Garcia at the start of December.

Porter spoke Thursday about the amount of talent within the department. He said he wants officers to engage with the community in a collaborative way. Porter said he looks forward to making changes that would strengthen the group at every level.

“My goal is to bump everybody up," said Porter. "To create more deputy chiefs, assistant chiefs and then other chiefs. My goal is to one day sit out here and watch one of the other officers that's currently in the office become the police chief.”

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In 2018, Porter applied for Chief of Police and was a finalist. Ganim instead chose then-Acting Chief Armando Perez. Several within the department alleged that he made the decision to hire Perez because he was Ganim's friend and political ally.

A federal investigation in September 2020 led to the arrest of Perez and former Personnel Director David Dunn. Investigators charged them with interfering with the search.

Porter filed a discrimination lawsuit. Later a federal judge ruled to dismiss Porter’s discrimination lawsuit against the city. He appealed the ruling. Hearst Media reported that the city hired a law firm year ago to investigate allegations of racism, discrimination, and favoritism.

On Thursday, Ganim addressed claims of racial divisions within the department. He said he denies race, gender, or religion to be a factor in finalizing a decision for chief appointments.

"I think with regards to divisions, the chief and I have talked," said Ganim. "About that being raised as an issue legitimate or not, it being raised as an issue and it has to be addressed."

Last week, Porter withdrew his appeal of a federal judge’s ruling. Porter said he will have conversations with leadership to educate them on policies to address any concerns of racism or favoritism. He said many divisions come down to competitiveness.

Jeniece Roman is WSHU's Report for America corps member who writes about Indigenous communities in Southern New England and Long Island, New York.